Google cracks down on apps that gather personal data without consent


TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Google is continuing to tighten the rules when it comes to ads that appear in Android apps and is warning developers to be more clear about their programs’ data collection behavior.

The tech giant’s Safe Browsing team has expanded its Unwanted Software Policy to address further “unwanted and harmful behaviors on Android.” Apps that handle personal user data such as phone numbers and email addresses, or data about the device (such as IMEI number), must prompt users for permission to collect the information. The app’s privacy policy must also be displayed within the application.

The revised rules also state that if an app collects and transmits personal data that is unrelated to its functions, then it must highlight this fact before transmission and seek consent from the user first. This covers app functions such as crash reports, where a list of installed apps on a device cannot be sent without permission.

If developers don’t comply within 60 days, Google will warn users via Google Play Protect or on websites that lead to these apps.

Google has been cracking down on certain ads within apps for a long time. Those that are considered deceptive, disruptive, inappropriate or interfere with applications or device functionality are regularly removed from the store. Last week, an update to the Google Play Policy Center revealed that apps which introduce ads to the lock screen were being banned from the Play Store, the only exception being those apps that function exclusively as lock screens.

Late last month, researchers found that three-quarters of the 300+ Android apps they analyzed, which included Uber, Spotify, and Tinder, contained embedded third-party trackers.

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They should start by stopping data collection them selves. They just want a monopoly on phone spying. Shame there's no good opensource alternative. Would love a linux based phone. Now the options are apple and google both of which collect data but google isn't based solely on selling bad products on ridiculous profit margins and killing chinese slaves.


TS Enthusiast
Stick facebook and messenger apps in this now.
That was listening to key words only spoken about in meetings - It had no camera or permissions to the voice function of my device either. Yet behold, I got adverts because I "clicked on an ad relating to **insert technical thing here**" I didn't use FB for a few weeks and it was cleared off any machine I use yet I was still getting adverts because I was clicking ads relating to sql enterprise. lol wut? Discussed verbally but never written.

It is now sat disabled.
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